Home of Wasabi Air Racing

Elliot Seguin and Jenn Whaley's Formula One class air race team based out of Mojave, California. Pylon racing at the National Championship Air Races in Reno Nevada. Eight airplanes racing head to head around telephone poles in the desert. Mojave is the best place on the planet to build and modify a race plane, and Wasabi is lucky to have the best support in the business.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

First Flight Report N348LC By Elliot Seguin

We took off as a flight of two from Mojave at 8:00.  Justin used the opportunity to practice a pickup with the GT operating as a surrogate.  It took 15" MAP and 2500 RPM on the GT for the Tango to hang with the GT, both burning about 11.5 GPH.  We arrived at Apple Valley at 8:45.  There were three airplanes in the pattern including a taildragger without a radio.

We worked until 11:30 checking the airframe and engine compartment.  There were some concerns with the inboard aileron hinges pulling off the surface, and similarly with the rudder trim tab (bellcrank moving relative to the surface).  The result was that there was some play in the rudder tab, that play was on the order of what we found in the elevator.  We found that the aileron trim tab was operating backwards, Hadlich fixed that.  Right before lunch we were looking at the parking brake and found it to be engaged, so Elliot turned it off and we went to lunch.  Lunch took about 30 minutes at the airport restaurant. 

After Lunch when we got back to the hangar we found a puddle of brake fluid under the airplane and an associated brake fluid trail on the right side of the pilot's foot well.  Tracing the leak Justin found it was the parking brake that was leaking.  Justin worked the problem first confirming the brake lines were tight, they were.  So Justin checked that the brake housing was tight, it was.  He finally removed the parking brake and replaced it with a AN3 male to male fitting.  We bled the left brake and found both left and right brakes to be tight.  We installed the cowlings and performed an engine run and taxi test.  The brakes functioned fine during the taxi test.  During the engine run I check the mags and cycled the prop all functioned as expected.  Peak CHT 330F, and peak oil 150F, oil pressure was stable at 55 PSI.  Number 5 cylinder CHT was not funcitonal.  We left to fly back to Mojave at 2:45, arriving in Mojave at 3:30, done for the day at 4:15.

Sunday started with a 6:30 show at Mojave airport, we packed the airplane and launched at 7:00 for a 7:45 arrival at Apple valley.  We briefed at 8:10 and stepped at 8:30.  During the engine start I used high boost to prime and cranked, the engine popped twice and then died, I didn't release the starter and then selected high boost.  After another 6 or 8 blades the engine caught and ran fine.  Initial oil pressure 55 PSI.  During the taxi out we did radio checks, there were some issues with the ground comm, that I think were mostly a miscommunication about what frequency the test team was on.  In order to improve line of sight issues that may have been the cause of the radio problems Justin launched in the Tango and was therefore able to help with the comms.  Engine run up went well, with very small (<50 drops="" fuel="" mag="" pressure="">27 PSI, oil pressure 40 PSi (which is at the bottom limit).  Through the whole morning the traffic on the airport was steadily increasing.  An interesting go-no go item of how much traffic is too much traffic for this kind of testing.

I took the runway while Justin was on initial.  He called 30 seconds and 10 seconds, then an airplane made a relatively long call about being 10 miles south of the field.  Justin called brake release right at the end of this transmission.  I applied full power and released the brakes, my first priority was to confirm with more RPM the oil pressure got further into the green.  Once I saw 45 PSI, I checked that the airspeed was functioning, I saw 40 KIAS.  I then checked the engine RPM and fuel pressures.  By the time I looked back at the airspeed I saw 60 KIAS, and I added back pressure to check pitch handling,  With back pressure the airplane came up on to the mains I held it there until 85 KIAS when the airplane naturally rose off the ground.  I selected gear up and turned to offset to the left 15 degrees.  As I turned left there was a significant engine sound change, I decided this was related to the pneumatic canopy seal. 

I accelerated to 120 for climb speed and looked left noticing the left fuel cap was venting a lot, then the gear finished transit and the pump turned off.  I started a right hand turn, Justin called "clean and dry" and I noticed a "Warm smell" in the cockpit.  I called the smell and venting fuel cap over the radio.  As I crossed over the center of the field I had reached my 180 degree dirty turn altitude of 4500' MSL.  I switched from the right tank to the left tank to try to limit the fuel venting.  Justin called that based on the traffic to the south that we keep the climb going.  So I reduced to climb power (WOT and 2500 RPM) holding 120 KIAS through 7000' MSL.  During that climb I leaned the mixture (initially flowing >32GPH at 25" MAP and all EGTs below the scale, CHTs in the 300s), I leaned to the mid 1300s which took two or three turns.  As I climbed from 7K' to 8K' I accelerated to VA.  At 8K and 170 I reduced power to hold altitude.  Based on Justin's suggestion I did three axis stick wraps at 170 KIAS with no airframe response.  The ailerons seemed softer than Race 44, but I hardly ever fly 44 at VA.

With 15 degrees of roll in a left hand orbit at 8,000 feet and partial power.  Just asked for a situation report on the engine.  I checked as such and the #6 cylinder was up to 418 degrees, so I added a full turn of mixture.  The CHT responded and cooled quickly.  Oil temp was 220f but Oil Pressure was down to 35.  With a minimum oil pressure of 40 PSI this was below the limit.  As a result we called the flight.  I slowed to 140 and extended the gear (which clears the gear envelope).  I slowed to 110 KIAS and extended the flaps to the stop, no roll asymmetry resulted.  I then retracted the flaps and the gear to give us more options as we waited for traffic at the airport to clear.

I arrived at high-key at 140 and 5,500, and extended the flaps to 10 degrees.  The left fuel cap started venting again abou tthis time.  At low key the airplane was low and not far enough downwind.  I was very concerned about the short runway so I decided to extend the downwind.  In order to do that I pull the propeller back to decrease drag and slowed to 110 KIAS.  As I rolled on to base and final I held 110.  I held 110 into the pre flare, as a result during the flare I got below 100 (with ten degrees of flaps) and as a result I was pretty blind (nose was very high).  Luckily Justin was right there with the altitude calls, and the landing went well.  As I was rolling out with the nose up just on the mains I checked the brakes and they were totally flat.  It took two or three pumps to get the brakes to work but they seemed to function normally after that.  I set the nose down with less than 2000 feet remaining and ended up taking the last taxi way.

Looking the airplane over after the flight the main gear oleos had some oil visible on the strut, not suprising but they seemed to be functioning properly.

We went to get food at 9:30.  Elliot and Justin flew back to Mojave and were on deck with the airplanes stowed by 11:30.

Engine Start 8:49
Engine Shutdown: 9:09

Fuel Vent Left Side
Oil Pressure Regulator
#6 Cylinder Hot
#5 CHT not functioning
Brakes need to be bled.
Check Oleos

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

N348LC Test Plan

N348LC Flt 4, Pilot: Justin Gillen, Chase Pilot: Elliot Seguin (GT-400)

N348LC Test Plan
Owner: Larry Channel
Lancair Legacy
Aircraft MSN: L2K-212
Engine: Cont IO-550
Engine MSN: IC-6584
Propeller: Hartzell
Prop MSN: JN286B
Location for testing:  Apple Valley Airport, Mojave Air and Space Port
Designated Airworthiness Representative: Carl Gerker

Risk Statement:

Flight test is risky and this aircraft is complex and expensive.  While Wasabi Flight Test plans a deliberate, responsible, and risk adverse approach to testing the aircraft; there are inherent risks to the aircraft that cannot be avoided.  We suggest hull insurance coverage for the value of the aircraft during the phase one flight test.  Wasabi Flight Test is not to be held responsible for damage to the aircraft during phase one flight test.

Project Summary:
The intent is to perform the testing required to complete the phase one flight test as directed by paragraphs 3, 4, 10, and 15 from the representative operating limitations as described AC 90-89A and outlined in the following test plan summary.  This will include 40 hours of flight test to be performed by Wasabi Flight Test pilots.  At the end of the test phase, a report will be generated for the owner describing to what flight conditions the airplane has been demonstrated and the characteristics or phenomena observed at those conditions.  Wasabi Flight Test pilots are neither check-out pilots nor CFIs, and as such make no assertions in transitioning the owner into said aircraft upon completion of phase one operations.

Aircraft overview:
The Lancair Legacy is a two seat, low wing, aircraft with 40° flaps, tricycle retractable landing gear and a low cruciform tail.  The stock airframe is powered by a continental IO-550.  This particular aircraft has never flown before.

Test Plan Summary:
AC 90-89A will be used as a reference for the flight test program.  Based on those recommendations the test plan is listed below.  This is a guide the actual order of testing will depend on how everything comes together.

Hours 1-3
Per Chapter 3, Section 4 of AC 90-89, the initial flights, hours 1-4, have two objectives: 1. confirm engine reliability, and 2. confirm basic flight characteristics.  These initial flights will be done at power settings to facilitate new engine break in, with flight times less than 45 minutes.  Typically these flights are spent diagnosing cooling problems.  Initially the envelope will be cleared from VREF to VA (90 KIAS to 170 KIAS, or to 1.3x VS) and 0.5 G to 2.5 G.  This envelope will provide ample room to evaluate gross handling issues without stressing the engine early in the break-in process.  The envelope will be cleared using 3 axis stick wraps in 5 knot increments.  The flap and gear systems will also be validated during this initial phase of testing.  Inspections between flights will be significant with full cowl removal after every flight.

Hours 4-10
Per Chapter 4, Section 3 of AC 90-89, these flights will be used to build on the data established by the first three hours and start expanding the flight test envelope.  This time is also used to begin operational type testing and validation.  In particular, climbs and descents will be used to check the engine reliability and installation effects in these demanding phases of flight.  Installation error of the airspeed indicator will also be checked.  Airspeed calibration checks will be done using available methods.

Hours 11-20
Per Chapter 5, Section 2 of AC 90-89, upon successful engine break-in, testing will further expand the envelope while validating the predicted operational aspects of the airplane.  With the airspeed indicator calibrated, this time is used to validate the published VBG, VX, and, VY.  Testing is performed referencing 23.71 for glide testing, and 23.65 for climb testing.  During this phase, the airplane will be stalled for the first time.  Starting with clean configuration power-off stalls and advancing to partial-power, landing configuration stalls, and finally to turning, and accelerated stalls.  Stall testing will be done using 23.49, 23.201, 23.203, and 23.207 as guidance.

Hours 21-35
As per Chapter 5, Section 3 of AC 90-89, this phase of testing will be used to validate the stability and control aspects of the aircraft, namely static and dynamic stability in all three axis, using 23.145, 23.147, and 23.155 as guidance.  As discussed in the “Maneuvers to be cleared” section below, testing in this phase will clear the aerobatic maneuvers required, using 23.151 as guidance.

Hours 36-40
This phase of testing will re-check the previously flown points at the extremes of the C.G. envelope and dive test the airplane to VNE or VD.

Speed envelope to be cleared:
Paragraph 4 describes “normal range of speeds”.  This will be from VS0 (stall speed landing configuration) to VD.  Unless deemed necessary, it is assumed that the published VNE of 263 KIAS will be acceptable as a max speed limit for this aircraft.  Because of the natural aspiration of this aircraft, the service ceiling will be reported.  This testing will reference 23.1527.

Load factor to be cleared:
The published maximum load factor for the airplane is +4.4.  The aircraft will be tested to this point at the published gross weight of 2,200 lbs.  If the weight of the aircraft is too heavy to allow testing at this weight, the load factor will be scaled such that the wing sees the same peak bending and the load factor limit will be reduced.  The aircraft will not be taken to a negative load factor below zero.  This testing will reference 23.155.

Maneuvers to be cleared:
According to paragraph (15) all aerobatic maneuvers to be flown must be demonstrated during phase
one.  This testing will reference 23.203.

Cruise testing:
In order to provide a baseline for later modifications, a “cruise snap shot” will be documented.  This will provide a comparison point for later in the life of the airplane.  This snap shot will include: W&B, power setting, all CHTs, all EGTs, fuel flow, KIAS, KTAS, OAT, and pressure altitude.

Speeds to be determined:
According to paragraph 4 below, VS0, VX, and VY need to be determined, along with VS and VBG.  VFE, VA, VLO, and VLE will be demonstrated.  This testing will reference 23.201, and 23.203.

Weight and C.G.:
The published weight and CG envelope for the aircraft is 2200 lbs. and 10% to 25% MAC; this entire envelope will be demonstrated with handling checks and stall evaluations at each CG location.  These W&B configurations are to be given specific attention.  This testing will reference 23.23, 23.201, and 23.203.

1. Heavy-Aft.  Full Mains, Full Aux, Two 200 lbs. Crew, 75 lbs. baggage.

2. Nominal.  Full Mains, Two 200 lbs. crew

3. Solo Aft.  Full Mains, Full Aux, Solo 200 lbs., 75 lbs. baggage

4. Race. Full Mains, Solo 200 lbs. crew

Representative operating limitations:
(3) This aircraft must be operated for at least (40) forty hours in the assigned geographic area.

(4) All test flights, at a minimum, must be conducted under day VFR only.  Guidance concerning the scope and detail of test flights can be found in AC 90-89.  Following satisfactory completion of the required number of flight hours in the flight test area, the pilot must certify in the records that the aircraft has been shown to comply with CFR 91.319(b).  Compliance with 14 CFR 91.319(b) must be recorded in the aircraft records with the following, or a similarly worded statement:  “I certify that the prescribed flight test hours have been completed and the aircraft is controllable throughout it’s normal range of speeds and throughout all maneuvers to be executed, has no hazardous operating characteristics or design features, and is safe for operation.  The following aircraft operating data has been demonstrated during the flight testing: Speed VS0____, VX____, and VY____, and the weight _____ and CG location ______ at which they were obtained.”

(10) During flight testing phase, no person may be carried in this aircraft during flight unless that person is essential to the purpose of the flight.

(15) This aircraft may conduct aerobatic flight in accordance with the provisions of 14 CFR 91.303.
Aerobatics must not be attempted until sufficient flight experience has been gained to establish that the aircraft is satisfactorily controllable and in compliance with 14 CFR 91.319(b).  This aircraft may only conduct these maneuvers that have been satisfactorily accomplished during the flight testing and recorded in the aircraft logbook and maintenance records by use of the following, or a similarly worded, statement: “I certify that the following aerobatic maneuvers have been test flown and that the aircraft is controllable throughout the maneuvers’ normal range of speeds, and is safe for operation.  The flight tested aerobatic maneuvers are ___________, __________, ___________, ___________, ___________, and ___________.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Andrew Angelotti's Wireless Data Collection System

Hey Guys,

A coworker at Scaled has been working on a data collection system for flight test.  These types of outside of work project have been common for engineers trying to break into the flight test ranks at Scaled.  I was very impressed by Andrew's work and I am excited to have it on the site.

Airplanes are cool,

Sunday, July 19, 2015